That's The Way It Was
Sept. 11, 1979 to June 13, 1980
There are some who reckon that a year begins in September and ends in June, as is with students reflecting on a year gone by. Nine months, September '79 thru June '80, that go by so slow and yet so fast. Major events standout in politics, science, sports, entertainment, fads, and fashions. The people, places, and events that form the milestones of these months forever exist in our memories and are well to be remembered.
Major upheavals took place in the world of politics, with ramifications that touched the lives of all. The crises in Iran emphasized by the plight of the American hostages has made its mark on our memories. The invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union threatened U.S. oil interests in the Persian Gulf and the very life blood of the American economy. The apparent imminence of war brought up many questions concerning the reinstatement of the draft and whether or not women should be included. This and others became issues expounded by politicians campaigning for the 1980 presidential election. The politics of the past nine months affect us now and may yet again affect us in the future.
Many victories and defeats were seen in sports. One major victory was that of a young U.S. Olympic hockey team over an experienced and world-renowned Soviet team in the Winter Olympics held in Lake Placid, New York. Eric Heiden, the favored Olympic speed skater, swept the men's events and won an unparalleled five gold medals. The summer games, unfortunately, will not see any U.S. victories such as these since a boycott of the games is planned by President Carter. In the Super Bowl, it was the Pittsburgh Steelers over the Los Angeles Rams. A Pittsburgh team also won in the World Series with the Pirates defeating the Baltimore Orioles, four games to three. Magic Johnson made his mark in pro-basketball when the Lakers triumphed over the Philadelphia Phillies in the NBA Championships. A new face in tennis was that of sixteen-year-old Tracy Austin who won the women's singles in the U.S. Open tennis tournament along with John McEnroe who won in the men's division. In hockey, the Stanley Cup was won by the New York Islanders against the Philadelphia Flyers. Although the faces change, the spirit of competition is in all athletes and will remain with them always.
Great moments in history can be seen in the field of science. Space exploration was expanded to include Saturn which was viewed by Pioneer 11. Medical breakthroughs such as the discovery of interferon to combat cancer and new laser techniques to aide in surgery were also seen. Advances such as these are stepping stones for the generations to come.
Natural Phenomenon that occurred during our last nine months of high school included the storms that swept Southern California killing twenty-four and causing $425 million in damage. Mt. St. Helens in Washington erupted, leveling land and spreading volcanic ash hundreds of miles. These disasters will help to prepare us for dangers in the future.
Entertainment came in many varieties. Saturday Night Live with the Mr. Bill Show was enjoyed by many, and movies included Superman and Kramer vs. Kramer which won an Academy Award for best picture. Awards for best actor and actress were won by Dustin Hoffman for Kramer Vs. Kramer and Sally Field for Norma Rae. Tragedy was also seen in the entertainment industry. Eleven people died in a stampede at a Who concert in Cincinnati. Several movie personalities passed away who will be greatly missed — John Wayne, Alfred Hitchcock, and Mary Pickford. Music was marked by Punk Rock and the New Wave sound. Groups like Blondie, The Cars, and The Sex Pistols were seen.
The new music brought on new fashions. Devo glasses (named after the group Devo) and other punk paraphernalia started appearing. Other fashions were baggie pants, and designer jeans such as Jordache and Sassoon. Others opted for the casual look and OP and alligators were signs to look for. The Bo Derek hairstyle, brought on by the movie "10", was worn by some, but at $200 a shot, not many ventured the new look. Many fads surfaced, roller skating and roller disco became popular at many beaches. Americans started jogging and joining health clubs in order to keep in shape. Many started eating health foods striving to keep preservatives and other harmful additives out of their diet. An ancient game of chance surfaced in Southern California — that of the endless chain. Many risked $1,000 in order to gamble for the $16,000 jackpot. Fads come and go and are merely a measure of the attitude of the times, they do not remain with us throughout our lives.
Other major events of the year included the soaring price of gold that went as high as $835 in London and Zurich. Gasohol was produced from grain as a substitute to fossil fuels. Chrysler Corporation nearly went out of business risking thousands of jobs, but it was saved by a $1.5 billion loan from the government. The first women graduated from West Point, marking an end to the idea of women unfit for military command. In defiance to the communist system, Leonid and Valentina Kozlova, members of the Soviet Bolshoi Ballet, defected to the U.S. and were granted asylum here. From Cuba came the thousands of refugees fleeing the rule of Fidel Castro.
All the events marked here are merely a sample of the many significant moments that occurred during the year. Many of these will be forgotten in a few months, but others will influence us throughout our lives. For some the year is over, but after all it is a New Beginning.
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. Original transfered 2019 to Santa Clarita Public Library.